Alexandra Birth Story
Hi 🙂 This is our birth story of baby #4
Welcoming Bentley Alexander Earthside – Our homebirth journey
Our story begins on November the 8th 2011. 7 Months to the day that my beautiful Mama had passed away. Since her passing everything had been incredibly stressful as problems had arisen in her will. Usually I can track my menstrual cycle and had gone 5 years with unprotected sex without falling pregnant (and I am highly fertile). Due to the stress happening in my life at the time I, somewhere along the line had forgotten when my menstrual cycle was. But on this day we were to find out we were expecting our fouth bundle of joy. From the beginning we wanted a homebirth. To do things better then we had the previous 3 times… to do things OUR way.
I sent a text message to a friend saying I had some news ( I wanted her Mum to be more Doula…no one else was an option). She wanted to know what it was and to give her a clue…. So I sent back a message saying “approximately 270 days”. She called me all excited and she knew what 270. The shock came when she said that she was expecting also. We worked out that there would be about 2 weeks in between our belly babes but I didn’t have a date in which I conceived so I just went with due in July. I visted her the next day and as we sat at her table I made the call to her mum to see if she would be available. I told her I wanted to get birth right this time. The overwhelming joy I could hear in her voice was enough to hold back tears. I was ecstatic!
We told the 3 other children one afternoon while they were enjoying some time in the pool. I will never forget the look on their faces. “Are you for real?” “Really, you’re going to have a baby mum” “Really Really mum, it’s in your tummy?” They still talk about when we told them we would be having a new little brother or sister for them.
I had a fairly uneventful pregnancy. I didn’t seek any medical advice, no ultra sounds, no blood tests, no poking or prodding. I did seek holistic care by a cranio sacral therapist. I experienced movements early on and because it felt like little bubbles inside, I had named my belly dweller bubbles. For the first time I didn’t get sciatic pain and I didn’t bleed. I did however get incredible pain from my sacroiliac joints. There were days and nights I struggled to walk and sit. Bubbles sat breech and anterior for majority of the pregnancy, occasionally swinging LOA. After a visit with the cranio sacral therapist bubbles was turned head down and LOA. The things that she could perform on me through my head amazed my husband Paul and myself. Especially when we both saw our baby turn head down… something I doubt we will forget. While attending these appointments, I was also released from my crippling migraines that see me bed ridden for at least 2 times a month for the past 23 years…. to this day I have not had one again.
I had asked my friend to be present at the birth. Having 3 other children, I knew that someone would need to be here for the them. Since she had 3 homebirths herself I knew she would stay calm if something were to happen. She would also be able to help her mum (my doula) out if she needed it as we weren’t having a midwife present for this birth. We had educated ourselves for all the unexpected events that could happen ( Doula doesn’t make it, friend doesn’t make it, cord around babies neck, breech baby, baby that doesn’t breathe shortly after the birth, signs for too much blood loss etc). We were comfortable and prepared for all the what if’s.
From early on I had wanted a blessing way, something I hadn’t experienced before. I couldn’t invite everyone as much as part of me wanted, I had to narrow it down to a very select few which also meant no family members were invited. I organised it for the 23 June. A little too close to my second sons birthday (25th) but I had no other choice. As the time came closer – around 32 weeks, it was decided that a kitchen renovation may as well be thrown into the mix. That was nothing but drama after drama and it certainly pushed my stress levels. We were kitchen less for more then two weeks and in the process of all this Paul quit his job!! True to form he got a new job instantly, but this time it was in a different field of work and it was night shift. What a relief that was! I didn’t have to drive anymore with a belly that wouldn’t fit behind the wheel anymore! So with the kitchen and new job underway I was determined to see my blessingway out. There was NO way I wasn’t having one and there was NO way I was going to give birth without a kitchen! According to my cranio sacral therapist I was going to have my baby early…. she predicted Saturday the 16th of June. So, just incase my Doula had dropped off her spare birth pool just INCASE. Nothing happened – told you I wouldn’t be having this baby until I had my blessingway!!
The kitchen was installed to the point it could be used – sink, bench top, oven and stove top. This was Thursday 21st June. Saturday was to be my blessingway.
Nightly I would experience braxton hicks and after a few hours they would go and I could go to sleep. Friday night (22nd) I had a few more that were bitey and I kept telling myself I would have my blessing way. Just hold off until then! Saturday morning came! Blessing way day 😀 I got up and made a start on some cleaning and the prep of food for my blessingway. I got a few longer deeper pains while setting about my chores but I pushed them to the back of my mind. Paul took the boys to soccer and was going to head to the park afterwards to keep them out the house for me. Our daughter stayed home with me because I wanted her to be apart of this special day with me.
My blessingway consisted of food, love and activities to fill my birth space. Flag painting and belly henna were done on the day, my belly casting had been done a week earlier just incase I did happen to have Bubbles earlier. That day my daughter felt like she was all over me and not letting me have space. She irritated me and it was upseting me that I felt that way because she has never made me feel that way before. Once the blessingway was completed we had some maternity/family photos taken in the bush near our house as we were short on time due to Paul starting work in the next 1.5 hours. Paul had a saying during that past week “can you have the baby already so I don’t have to go to work… stop being selfish” (Don’t take this the wrong way – it was said in a completely joking way and it made me laugh. So when we returned home that is what he said as he walked out the door to work. I said goodbye to our photographer and joked I would see her later.
I went inside, gave the children left overs for dinner, got them showered and sorted for bed. We watched a little tv and then I popped them into bed as I was just shattered. I went to bed and I was on facebook on my mobile chatting to my friend and watching the tele. I told her I was getting a few pains but nothing to write home about. I was telling her each time I was getting a pain… not sure if she was timing or not but around 8:50 I THINK it was she said she was going to head to bed incase something happened that night and I should do the same. I said good night and watched the tele for a few more minutes. I then decided I should get a good nights sleep after a long day. So I rolled over on to my side like I did every night, spent a few seconds re-arranging the pillows between my legs and took a big breath in and released.
Would you believe the moment I relaxed and closed my eyes I heard *snap*. I KNEW instantly what that was as for my previous 3 children my waters had released. Due to my sacroiliac joints playing up I wasn’t able to get out of bed quickly. My brain in a matter of milli-seconds told me to push myself to the end of the bed and then leap onto the plastic that was covering our floor… starting a metre away! So I did just that and it hurt to do that but I wasn’t prepared to try and soak the carpet knowing hubby was at least half hour away which meant I would have to try and clean it.
As I stood there in the dark I could hear my waters trickling onto the plastic… going by the sound I knew there was a mass amount of water. I pondered for a moment. Would I try and turn the light on knowing I’d have to walk on the carpet or do I try and reach for my phone by leaning over our couch to the bedside table. I opted for shuffling the plastic, water and all a little further out to reach the light. I looked down and WOW…. SO much water. I immediately reached for the towel that was on the end of my bed and quickly jammed it between my legs. I then waddled with my knees together over to the bedside table to get my phone. It was now 9:04pm (Yes all of this happened within minutes/seconds) I called my husband who had just sat down for his break. He answered immediately and I said “Im standing in a puddle of water” his response, “righteo im on my way babe” (he has since told me as soon as he saw it was me calling he scooped his dinner into the bag before he finished the call and was on his way down the stairs). Some may think I should have called my Doula first, however I was happy to birth with just my husband by my side if I needed to. I believe he was the most important person to have there. He is and always will be my rock. He arrived home 22 minutes later. I hadn’t had a sensation yet so was just standing there in a puddle of water with a towel between my legs.
9:05 I called my Doula to tell her my waters had released. She said she would head to her daughters house and when I thought things were starting I could call her. My previous 2 births had been 2.5 hours from water releasing to the birth of the placenta so she didn’t want to be too far away. She must have changed her mind as she arrived at 9:50. During this time I had called my friend and our photographer to know that tonight would be the night. By the time she arrived I had 2 sensations approximately 10 minutes apart. I propped myself up on the couch while my Doula and husband readied the pool.
Hot water??? what hot water! We had ran out of hot water. Great I thought this is not going to happen. On went the stove top… no kettle to boil. My friend was called and she bought her kettle and saucepan along with her. She arrived at 11:05. I cannot stand the feeling of the waters running down my legs and I made everyone well aware of that. By now I had soaked 7 towels with the membranes. My Doula suggested I hop in the pool so I wouldn’t feel it anymore. What a great idea I thought to myself. I hopped in at 11:45 and what an amazing feeling it was. The warmth hugged around my body and I felt I was where I was meant to be. My surges were coming every 7 and lasting 50 seconds but I was chatty in between each surge. As each surge embraced my body I became more settled into my birthing body and started to imagine my beautiful baby making the journey home.
I said “my hips are aching” so my devoting husband started with the hip presses to try and relieve some of the pain. Our photographer was called at 11:50pm as the surges were now 5 minutes apart and were getting stronger. I remember frogging around the pool and not staying in the one place.
Since I am ever so chatty in between surges my friend and I got on the topic of weeing. Because thats what you do while bringing a baby earthside right! We spoke about her daughter and how she can wee standing. Along with many other conversations I also brought it to attention that I figured we were having a boy because I swear a penis would stick out. What else could it be? (Surges still 5-7 mins apart)
2am “I can feel the babies head down there now. It doesnt feel like normal”. I remember as each surge intensified I started to count the bumps on the bottom of the pool or I would look at the beautiful flags which surrounded my birthing space. Following the swirls, reading the words, spelling the words and being ever so greatful for the time friends had spent to make these just for me…. just for this very occasion. (surges 5-7 mins apart)
3:05 Paul had noticed something different coming out. My friend had a look and it was my plug. I asked my husband if he wanted to get into the pool. He wasn’t sure because he didn’t want to take up my space. My Doula, obviously knowing the signs said “perhaps she wants you to get in”. I leaned into him, I embrassed his strength and I seeked the connection I needed… head to head I felt at ease with him right there. This life changing event was happening right here in our own bedroom. No bright lights, no dopplers, no bleached white floors and walls with people in masks telling me what I NEEDED to do to get this baby out. I knew what I needed to do… my body knew what it needed to do and most of all my baby was doing what he/she needed to do.
Everyone had a bit of a laugh when Paul announced that “we need to get another chook”. Isn’t it amazing the things you can think of when you are so relaxed and confident. In a hospital environment this would have never entered his mind as he always held concern for me that sort of environment.
Four minutes later I had said “man these hurt”. I remember looking at the candles and seeing them almost burnt out. They were 6 hour burn time candles so I knew it had been a good few hours since everything started. I wasn’t at all concerned, I was trusting my body and this time round my body was doing an amazing job at keeping things gentle yet progressive.
Two surges came at 3 minutes apart. My Doula mentioned to my friend to go and get the children if another surge came quickly. But would you believe they went back to being 5-6 minutes apart.
3:35 I had my first push. I withdrew into my body and I told myself not to push as I didn’t want to tear. I could grunt I could groan I could make pushing sounds but just dont push down hard. This is where my fear of hospitals stemmed from… being torn 3rd degree with my first sons birth and then being stitched up wrong. Second child I tore and the stitching was broken midway and it shredded my vulva until I cut the part that stuck out myself. Third child – tore again. So my greatest fear birthing is tearing. It was with this first push that my friend went and woke our other children.
They were so incredibly excited but so respectful of my space and knew that quiet was needed. Paul and myself had spent the pregnancy showing the children videos, pictures, making sounds for birthing and explained all the things that would and could happen so there was no fear.
Bella cuddled into my friend and the boys went from the couch to the edge of the pool wide eyed.
At this point I was on my knees. My doulas hand slid under my leg to my knee. Without a word said I knew she wanted my leg up like I were starting a race. We had spoken about this in one of our catch ups. It opens the hips and with hips in that position its more likely I will hip thrust my baby forwards to me instead of backwards.
That burning feeling wasnt anywhere near as bad in water, or maybe I was more in control. I could feel the little head, like a slippery walnut. Such and amazing feeling to experience. It brings tears to my eyes as I type because I didn’t experience this joy, this empowerment and control with the others. Its truely an exhilarating feeling knowing that this little being has been developing inside and now within a few more moments a new life will begin.
3:46 and I say “Hello baby” as the head emerged from within. My doula looked at her daughter (she tells me she looked at her as if to say – can you see the baby in the water) She then realised that it must just be babys head out. “I can’t get the head” I said as I was trying to cup my hand around the back of the head to make sure baby came forward to me. She/he then pushed out into the water. I remember it being like slow motion as I embrassed the little body that was in the water. I raised my baby out of the water and onto my belly. I did it! I birthed my baby into our house, our room… surrounded by people who care. Our baby was covered head to toe in thick, luscious vernix. As my friend put the warm blanket over him she got some on her hand and I remember us both smiling as she rubbed it into her skin. FREE moisturiser 🙂
I realised I must have had a short cord because I couldn’t get baby higher on me. At the same time baby came out I had also felt my placenta drop into my bottom (at the time I thought that can’t happen that quickly). I realised babys cord was over the shoulder and around the neck but I didn’t say anything. It was my friend who also saw it who said something. My Doula and Paul thought the cord was around the neck but soon saw that it was just up and around. Paul gently guided his hands around and removed the cord from around our babys neck. My Doula felt the cord and realised it had already stopped pulsing and thats when I said I was pretty sure my placenta was already on its way. Then it hit me… another wave and wow did that hurt. This isn’t fair I thought to myself (I was expecting at least a small break from baby to placenta). Before it came out my Doula and husband helped me out of the pool onto the couch where the placenta would be birthed. 4:10am It came out perfectly just as our baby had just moments before. This is where our baby came into itself – almost like he/she didn’t realise they were born until then.
It took us one hour to have a look at the gender of our baby. We quickly asked everyone what their final verdict was on the gender. We found out at 4:40am that we had another little boy join us… now a family of 6! I announced “It’s a Bentley”. Our daughter for a fleeting moment was upset but that quickly changed and now she is the proudest big sister you ever saw. Paul cut the cord releasing Bentley from his placenta.
After Bentley had a suckle on my breast we had him weighed. 7lb 14.5ozs. (3.5kgs). So my big belly was mostly his membranes. We had cuddles on the couch before Bentley was handed to daddy while I had a shower. Being able to get into my own shower and then back into my own bed was such a fantastic feeling. Breakfast was prepared for me while I soaked in my newborns beauty… that divine newborn smell that you just want to bottle, his soft hair, long feet and fingers, perfect little ears and the most squishy cheeks. Paul soon joined me into bed and the other children were already back to sleep. By then our photographer and friend had left and my Doula was doing the last of the clean up before she gave me a kiss goodbye and said she would be back tomorrow morning.
This was the perfect ending to complete our family. An amazing birth the way we wanted, no rules, no obligations or medical interventions, just pure love and support. I can easily say I would do this over and over again. Unlike the feelings I had in hospital, I’ve been left with the way birth should feel. Our family is greatful for this journey, we have all learnt something and I have planted that seed into our children for their future. Our daughter told our Doula –
Bella “when I have a baby, can I birth it in this pool”
Doula “Yes darling, you can”
Bella “Well, Dad will come and pick you up to come”
Doula “Why will dad need to pick me up?”
Bella “Because you won’t know where I live”
Too cute for words she is. My children bonded so well with our doula. 🙂